top of page

5 steps to reopening your store in Level 2


Bring on Level 2 - Now the really hard work starts

The move to level 2 is welcomed by us all, as we delight in the opportunity to get back to some form of normal and work to get the registers ringing again.

If you haven’t already, it’s critical to plan your physical store reopening so your team feel safe, understand the new protocols and can communicate and support your initiatives effectively.

Most importantly, you will need to demonstrate a safe and considered environment for shoppers to give them confidence and help support a transition to more regular shopping patterns.

For those who traded online during level 3, you may have been so busy embedding new process for contactless delivery and click and collect, that you haven’t had any breathing space to figure out how you will trade when you reopen your physical doors. Or perhaps you were waiting to understand what level 2 restrictions looked like.

To assist you in navigating all the components of a Level 2 store reopening, we have summarised the key areas to make the process of change and adaptation a bit easier.

5 key steps to reopening your store in Level 2

Step 1:

Re-plan shoppers’ entry to your store

Review your shopfront and entry with the eyes of a customer - what do you want them to do? What is their script, how do you want them to interact in your environment?

Do you need to manage the number of people entering the store at one time to enable effective management and protection of the required physical distance instore?

If yes, how will you do this?

  • Concierge/greeter at the entrance - this team member can also manage contract tracing and sanitisation (offering of hand sanitising – topping up and maintenance of the sanitiser station)

  • Queue markers – reminders of physical distance on the footpath, or free-standing markers you can remove and reposition as needed

  • Entrance health response signage - explain your store's protocols to ensure safety, this helps to set expectations and also the key questions the shopper must ask themselves before they enter the store (to keep other shoppers safe)

If you do not need to manage entry – how will you facilitate contact tracing? Contract tracing is an important aspect of managing COVID 19 going forward.

Step 2:

Review your current store set up - adapt and change

Walk your store as a shopper to assess how your current environment meets the new health requirements. What can you do to improve the flow of shoppers in your space?

How can I create the space that’s needed to support social distance?

Landing zones

  • Is there enough space at the front of the store to enable customers to enter and assess their shopping journey?

  • Can you reduce or remove displays at entrances to give customers enough room to enter and exit (side by side) without compromising the social distance recommendations?

Example of removing product displays to open entrance/exit


Are your aisles wide enough to enable 2-way traffic while maintaining social distance?

If no, implement 1-way aisles.

Support this change with:

  • Effective signage - Position 1 sign at eye-level at the start and end of each aisle indicating the aisle flow.

  • In addition, add floor decals (these can be applied to carpet and vinyl) to indicate the direction of traffic.

Walk all areas of your store – remove any product displays or fixture placements that compromise space.

Merchandising and storage

The way you used to operate may not work in this new environment. You might have to adapt to trade with less product on the trading floor. This can be done in many ways – but fundamentally, you only need one product or facing on the floor to make a sale, if you have all your product represented in a logical flow or location you can make this work.

Granted it’s not ideal – but these are challenging times and to create the space you need to trade safely; you will likely need to rethink your display and layout.

To support this adaptation, you may need to:

  • Reorganise or create more storage space (this may be onsite or offsite dependent on your circumstances)

  • Replenish your product displays more frequently

  • Present your product in new ways (digitally, on different fixtures, or use previously dead space more creatively)

Try to think of this an amazing opportunity to reimagine your brand experience and product presentation. Engage with shoppers through meaningful well thought out displays and storytelling – not just loads of product on a stand or bulk stack.

Counters and service areas

Review your service areas to ensure there is enough space for customers to wait if more than one person is being served at a time.


  • Removing all excess product from countertops to give plenty of space for customers and team members

  • Removing impulse bins and any fixtures or product displays that minimise space around the service/counter area

  • Implementing queue marker signage if applicable to your customer volume

  • Installing sneeze guards, if relevant for your customer interaction/volume and services

Step 3: Balancing services - Contactless pick-up and an open shopfront

While many of you have been operating with these new protocols in place, you now have to consider how to integrate these processes with your shopfront doors open and normal trade.

For some of you, there may not be a great deal of change – for others, it may be a new ball game, as you will now need to manage customers coming in for physical service and those still choosing the ease of contactless pick-up.

Many customers will continue to use contactless pick-up options as they appreciate the ease, are nervous about returning to previous shopping patterns and/or are immune-compromised. Remember your offer needs to be frictionless – no matter how I choose to shop – and that is now whenever, wherever and however I like.


Setting up designated contactless pick-up stations instore – to enable your team to manage both instore and online from inside your footprint.

  • This may be a location just inside the entrance that has a dedicated team member picking and processing pick-ups

  • You will need to consider a packing area, secure raking or storage for pre-packaged orders, a pick-up counter. All things that were done instore with your doors closed – will now need to be tweaked and amended to be managed with an open shopfront.

  • Or it may be a click and collect locker system (this is a more long term solution, as this will take more time to source/fund – but still something to plan for and work towards)

For those of you who Drive-thru collection is an option:

  • Can customers pick up purchases from your inwards goods area?

  • Or if pick up services have been well received consider permanent exterior locations – in a carpark or even a shared pick-up location for a group of local stores.

Step 4:

Health and safety protocols and your team’s environment

What does your team need to feel informed and safe while they are at work?

What do we need to reinforce with them about the changes to help manage the safety of your customers?

Sanitising stations

Identify locations instore for sanitising stations. Dependent on the size of your store, consider locations at:

  • Entrance and exits

  • A mid store location(s)

An additional sanitising station(s) in any area(s) of the store that may require higher-touch frequency with the product.

Please note: Health and beauty areas and changing rooms, in particular, will need specific protocols for testers and trial/trying on of product

  • Counters

  • Inwards goods

  • Staffroom

  • Offices

Cleaning protocols

Boring and obvious, I know, but so important. Define what your new cleaning protocols will be to support your offering. Do you have unique products that need a special set of instructions or treatment?


  • Increase surface cleaning across all frequently touched surfaces, handles, touch screens, tongs, cabinets, shopping baskets and trolleys

  • Changing rooms – are products steamed before being returned to racks? Are all surfaces sanitised after each occupant?

  • Health and beauty – in particular, how will testers be used if at all?

  • Should all testers be removed – with the application, only by a team member who follow strict hygiene protocols?

  • Or can you consider making disposable applicators readily available for all products?

  • This need consideration prior to reopening, customers shouldn’t have to guess how to interact.

Other product categories that require unique interaction:

  • Bulk food

  • Product demonstrations

  • Tastings

What solutions can you implement to mitigate the risk?

Supporting your team

What areas do team members need to actively manage distance? Is there enough space to manage team social distance at counters? In lunchrooms? In Inwards goods? In bathrooms/locker areas? Do they have the right tools to do the job safely?

Just we have asked you to assess your trading floors, you must also review your back of house and working areas, but his time from a team member perspective.


  • Staggered shifts/breaks

  • Revised workstation set up

  • A designated location for PPE (personal protection equipment) and regular stocktakes and ordering so you do not run out

  • New information sharing processes – how will you keep them updated on the things they need to know in these changing times?

Step 5:

Effective signage, messaging and support equipment

These new retail trading requirements will be with us for some time – not just a few days. It will be our new retail normal. To simply whack up an A4 in-store printed piece of paper on the window or door with some sellotape will not be good enough.

Example of 'not good enough'. Communication needs to be clear, considered - it will be here for the long run

Take the time to plan your communications, outputs and requirements and support your store's practices with some considered signage and support elements that will look professional, last the distance and best reflect your brand.

All the new steps outlined above will need communication and shopper education.

Put your best foot forward and do this right the first time:

Determine what support you need, to best suit your store(s) using the steps above and the store reopening checklist document we prepared to support our earlier article as guidelines and prompts

Plan what your signage requirements are:

  • What you want to say to support each new process

  • What the best size and format of signage to suit the location

  • Be clear, concise and consistent in your messaging

Reviewing the existing Covid19 support packs available from signage suppliers like APC Graphics Pack

Investing in some basic equipment to enable mounting of signage and communications professional and easy for example:

  • Window suction hooks

  • A3 Perspex signage holders

  • A1 snap frames to hold internal and external posters

Having equipment like this on hand makes it easy to manage updates as we move through the alert levels


It's going to be a challenging time. As always in retail, we are conscious you are sprinting a marathon. We hope that this checklist will help organise your actions and requirements

RetailX has a very experienced retail design team that understands the retail environment.

Please contact us if you need support to recommend, design and implement a COVID 19 support package to best the specific needs of your retail store or network.

We can help you manage the change in a cost-effective, cohesive and considered way.


Lisa Donaldson or phone on 021 870 232

497 views0 comments


bottom of page